Parents Of Teenagers Found Shot Had Legal, Financial Problems In Arizona, NC
Posted July 29, 2001 9:18 a.m. EDT
KENLY, N.C. — A former neighbor says hardship was nothing new for three Johnston County teenagers who were found shot to death this week.
The Warren family has lived for five years on 25 acres of property they own in Johnston County. Public records and people who knew the family indicate the Warrens had trouble here, and previously in Arizona.
Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell has made no secret of what he thinks of the home Kent and Nissa Warren provided their kids.
"The living conditions were unsanitary, very unusual, inhumane almost," Bizell said at a Friday press conference.
Five years ago, the Warrens lived in Arizona. Louis Sliman was their neighbor.
"They had four or five cats, they had three dogs, they had rabbits and pigeons too," said Sliman.
The house had broken trees and branches in the front yard; trash covered the back.
"The children couldn't play outside. She always left them in the house," said Sliman.
Sliman claimed security bars were put on the windows so the kids would not leave, but he said about twice a week, they would come to his home.
"They used to come to my door and ask for candy. They didn't have anything to eat," Sliman said.
Sliman said he saw the Warrens hit the children. Court records indicate the parents were arrested for, and pleaded guilty to, child abuse.
In November of 1990, the parents were indicted on several charges of child abuse. Kent Warren was indicted on five counts of felony child abuse. Nissa Warren was indicted on one count of felony child abuse and four counts of misdemeanor failure to report child abuse.
They reached a plea agreement in July of 1991.
Under the terms of the agreement, he was convicted on one count felony child abuse and one count felony possesion of a dangerous drug and sentenced concurrently to 90 days in jail and three years probation. She was convicted on one count of felony child abuse and also received three years probation.
In September of 1994, both Nissa and Kent Warren completed their probation.
They moved to North Carolina a short time later.
Papers from North Carolina indicate the couple filed for bankruptcy three years ago.
The personal property section of the filing says the Warrens own a 22-caliber handgun, possibly the same weapon investigators found in the home.
How the teenagers were killed remains a mystery. Investigators have not ruled out homicide, suicide, or a combination of the two.
They have said neighbors do not have to worry about a killer on the loose.
"I don't think they have any more risk than any of the other general public in Johnston County," said Capt. Dale Wheeler of the Johnston County Sheriff's department.
Investigators emphasize right now they have not developed a suspect. After several hours of questioning, they let the Warrens return home Friday.